As match play golf returns to the European Challenge Tour schedule for the first time in 18 years at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Match Play 9, we profile four proven performers in the head-to-head format who are teeing it up in Spain.
A whole host of former Junior Ryder Cup players are set to do battle this week.
Scotland’s Bradley Neil and Sweden’s Marcus Kinhult, team mates for Europe in 2014, will know one another’s match play game inside out as will Germany’s Dominic Foos, England’s Toby Tree and Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan – who were all part of the same side in 2012.
France’s Julien Brun – who became just the sixth amateur to win on the Challenge Tour when he triumphed at the 2012 Allianz Golf Open Toulouse Metropole – represented his continent in the biennial match in 2008.
Yet it is his former teammate Lampert, himself a three-time Challenge Tour champion, who is the most experienced Junior Ryder Cup star competing at La Cala Hotel and Golf Resort.
The German represented Europe in both 2008 and 2010 and, despite losing out to the United States on both occasions, he arrives in southern Spain having gone toe-to-toe with one of the world’s leading players – he narrowly lost out to Justin Thomas in the 2010 final day singles.
One competition which has seen more European success in recent times is the Palmer Cup, a tournament devised by the legendary Arnold Palmer which sees Europe’s finest student golfers take on the United States’ best college players.
One of the leading lights from last year’s contest, Sciot-Siegrist, will be hopeful of rediscovering the red-hot form which saw the Frenchman go unbeaten as Europe defeated the United States 18.5-11.5.
The University of Louisville graduate formed a formidable partnership with compatriot Antoine Rozner, with the pair winning both their foursomes and four-ball contest before Sciot-Siegrist proved too hot to handle as he won both of his singles matches.
Poland’s Adrian Meronk, who currently sits in 12th place on the Road to Oman, also won 2.5 points in what was a landslide victory for Europe.
Sciot-Siegrist is not alone in beating the Americans – Moynihan also achieved the same feat two years ago.
Forming part of a Walker Cup side that included Ewen Ferguson, Grant Forrest and Cormac Sharvin, who are all competing this week, Moynihan led the charge for a Great Britain and Ireland side that proved too good for their American opposition.
Moynihan – who became the youngest Irish Amateur Champion in history when he won as a 17 year old in 2012 – had already experienced the Walker Cup in 2013 and came out the blocks quickly at Royal Lytham and St Annes two years later, winning both his matches on Saturday before narrowly losing out twice when facing Bryson DeChambeau on the Sunday.
After securing a maiden professional victory at the Lookers Championship on the EuroPro Tour last month, the Irishman will be full of confidence as he returns to a format in which he has flourished in the past.
When it comes to match play calibre, Neil has an abundance of it. The 21 year old was a Scottish Boys Championship winner in 2013, played in the Junior Ryder Cup in 2014 and won the Amateur Championship in 2014, defeating South Africa’s Zander Lombard 2&1 in the final.
Fast forward three years and after making appearances in the Open Championship, the Masters Tournament and the U.S. Open, the young Scot is starting to find his feet in the professional game – his tied 11th finish at last month’s Turkish Airlines Challenge was the joint best result of his fledgling career.
With a proven track record as a match play player, Neil will be confident of bettering that result this week.